Category Archives: Advice

A suggestion for our youngest writers

Do you know about Stone Soup magazine?

Stone Stoup is a quality print magazine written entirely by kids up to 13 years old. They invite submissions, book reviews, and illustrations. And get this: if you’re printed, you get paid!

It takes confidence and bravery to submit your work to be published, but I can tell you from looking at your work all summer, Loft Young Writers, that you are good enough to be published. I hope you try!

For inspiration, take a look at this beautiful sample copy of Stone Soup.


Tip from another young writer

If you’ve been following this blog since last year, you may remember Rachel, a young literary rock star. She came to the Loft for a class last week and she was kind enough to share this suggestion:

Just wanted to share with you this awesome site (which you probably already know about) called YA Highway. They came out with a cool publishing “Road Map” and I think teens would really appreciate it.

Thanks for the tip, Rachel! Teens, we hope it helps you out.

Expert tips for your college application essay

Last week, teaching artist Meryl DePasquale offered a course called “Writing the College Application Essay.” Her students completed application essays in class–and better yet (for you, our reader, at least), they collaborated on a list of tips to help other high school seniors write their application essays.

Here are their tips:

1. Don’t be afraid to be too personal. The voice in your essay should sound genuine; the topic should be something that applies only to you.

2. Negative experiences are good material when they are written about in a mature, optimistic tone. Don’t complain or dwell too much on the sad/unpleasant parts.

3. Think broadly about your life and identity, but then find a specific story that exemplifies the points you want to convey.

4. Try writing about several different topics before you settle on one. Continue reading

Summer resolution: write, write, write.

Everyone knows that practice makes perfect–or if not perfect, then at least a lot better. It’s as true for writing as it is for anything else. One of the best ways to improve your writing is to keep writing, at least a little bit, all the time. So if you love to write, what better way to spend the summer?

I’m a big fan of the folks at Figment. If you’re not familiar, Figment is an online community for teen and young adult writers to share their work and get feedback. If you want some more practice and feedback before you try to publish formally, it’s a great step. (Especially because they offer contests.)

But one of the greatest resources that Figment offers is a daily theme, that is, a daily e-mail with a writing prompt.

Some of the prompts are serious, like these:

May 14: Write about the final time you did something that you have since sworn never to do again.

May 8: Write a scene in which a person moves languorously, performing each action slowly, lethargically, close to the point of stillness. The cause for this languor can be positive or negative, but let the pace and quality of those movements inform the energy and direction of your story.

Other are not so serious:

June 8: Photo prompt: Write a poem or story inspired by the scenario in this photograph.

Because the themes vary so widely in focus, from character to setting to dialogue to the absurd, they’re bound to encourage you to focus on something you’ve never tried. You’re sure to write something you’ll love and want to share.

Have you made a resolution to spend summer writing? Need some help getting started? Click here to sign up for Figment’s daily theme.

Making typos work for you

Many writers, young and young-at-heart alike, have trouble relaxing and letting words fly because we’ve all been trained to correct ourselves. As many of us have experienced, correcting your spelling and grammar can really interrupt your flow when you’ve got a great idea you need to get onto the page.

If you want your work to seem professional, you will have to get around to checking your grammar at some point in the writing process, but no one’s perfect, and even with the help of Spell Check, everyone’s bound to make a mistake at some point.

That’s why I wanted to share this column by Jill Pertler at Writers Weekly. Despite triple checking a query letter she sent to some important people, a wee-but-significant error escaped her attention. Click on the link to find out how she made it work for her.